SB Nation Blog
The opponent in one sentence
The Detroit Tigers look to compete in the American League Central after signing free agents, Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Báez, to lucrative deals this winter to complement a growing young core.
4/11: Michael Wacha vs. Matt Manning, 5:10PM ET (NESN)
Michael Wacha will make his 2022 Red Sox debut in Detroit against 24-year-old Matt Manning, making his 2022 debut. Manning pitched to a 4-7 record, with a 5.80 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 57 strikeouts in 85 1⁄3 innings in 2021, his first in the majors. A former top 10 overall pick, Manning has an intriguing four-pitch mix but his command needs to be honed in a bit. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will rely on the back end of the rotation to get back on the right track. Wacha looks to springboard of the back half of his 2021 season when his peripherals took a step back in the right direction.
4/12: Rich Hill vs. Tyler Alexander, 1:10 PM ET (NESN)
Rich Hill will take the mound in the rubber game of the series, for what feels like the 18th time he’s put on a Red Sox uniform. The Milton native with take the bump and look to improve on his middling 2021 season split between the Rays and Mets, one in which he threw 158 2⁄3 innings, the second highest total of his long career. The expectation is that the Red Sox will limit his innings, particularly early in the year, with Garrett Whitlock serving as something of a piggy back in the middle innings.
Tyler Alexander, in his fourth professional season, will look to improve on his 3.81 ERA/4.39 FIP, in 106 1⁄3 innings pitched in 2021. To this point in career he’s served mostly as a swingman on the Tigers pitching staff, though somewhat oddly both his ERA and FIP have been better in the rotation than in the bullpen. There’s no standout pitch here, but he’s got a solid three-pitch mix that could stick in a back-end role long-term.
4/13: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Eduardo Rodriguez, 1:10 PM ET (NESN)
Oh, the match up to end all matchups. The Red Sox ace, verses, I guess, the ace of the Tigers? Hard to tell. Eddie was always a three for the Sox, and he’s not paid quite like an ace, but he did get the Opening Day nod for the Tigers. So, he might as well be the de facto ace for the Tigers. The lefty finished the 2021 season for the Red Sox with a 4.74 ERA, but a 3.47 FIP. The Red Sox will look to take advantage of Rodriguez in the final game of the series after he allowed three runs in four innings in his Tigers debut.
What is there to say about Evoaldi? Not much. Eovaldi finished the 2021 season with the best FIP in the AL with a 2.79. Nate wasn’t just great in 2021, he was downright nasty. He had the full arsenal mostly working in his season debut on Opening Day in the bronx, giving up a couple of homers but looked mostly strong otherwise with seven strikeouts and a walk over five innings of work.
Former Red Sox number three starter, Eduardo Rodriguez, signed with the Detroit Tigers for five years and $77 million before the lockout. Always one of the more polarizing pitchers on the Red Sox roster, it’ll be fascinating to see how things play out in the Motor City.
Starting Position Players
The biggest splash of the offseason was securing a Gold Glove shortstop according to free agent acquisition Eduardo Rodriguez. That Gold Glover just so happened to be, Javier Báez. Báez anchors a lineup that includes one of the greatest to ever player, Miguel Cabrera, who is very much on the back nine of his career, 2020 first overall pick, Spencer Torkelson, who is very much on the front nine of his career, and last minute addition, Austin Meadows. The Tigers are primed to really begin to compete in the near future.
Detroit entered the 2022 season having had the third worst bullpen in the American League a year ago. They will look to improve, with not mostly with the same cast of characters from 2021. Gregory Soto will handle the biggest innings, boasting big stuff from the left side but also major control issues at times. Players like Michael Fulmer, a former Rookie of the Year starter moved to the bullpen due to injuries, Alex Lange, and Joe Jiménez also figure to pitch in the late innings.
Riley Greene is another top prospect who was hoping to break camp with Detroit, but a fractured foot is delaying his big-league debut.
Pitcher Kyler Funkhouser hopes to be back with the club soon after suffering a latissimus dorsi strain in February.
Pitcher Spencer Turnbull is on the IL-60 after undergoing Tommy John.
Catcher Jake Rogers is recovering from Tommy John.
Outfielder Derek Hill is on the IL-10 with a hamstring injury.
Monday’s forecast for Detroit is scattered thunderstorms, with a high of 67 degrees and a low of, 41 degrees. It’s borderline whether or not it will have an effect on the game being played. Tuesday will be mostly sunny, a high of 63 degrees and a low of, 51 degrees. The marquee matching between Eovaldi and Rodriguez is a high of 70 degrees, but scattered morning thunderstorms and progressive rain during the day could have the game be washed.